Scientists Want to Create a New Kind of Mosquito

Photo: Courtesy of Luciano Moreira, Anil Ghosh, Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena NEW LARVAE ON THE BLOCK: Transgenic and nontransgenic Anopheles stephensi larvae. The latter is recognizable by its green-glowing eyes, thanks to green fluorescent protein. Despite decades of control and treatment efforts, from DDT to antimalarial drugs, more than one million people die from malaria every year and hundreds of millions more become infected. It seems that as soon as a new tool emerges, a new form of resi

Leslie Pray
Nov 24, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Luciano Moreira, Anil Ghosh, Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena
 NEW LARVAE ON THE BLOCK: Transgenic and nontransgenic Anopheles stephensi larvae. The latter is recognizable by its green-glowing eyes, thanks to green fluorescent protein.

Despite decades of control and treatment efforts, from DDT to antimalarial drugs, more than one million people die from malaria every year and hundreds of millions more become infected. It seems that as soon as a new tool emerges, a new form of resistance ensues: DDT-resistant mosquitoes made that pesticide powerless, and the number of drug-resistant parasites is on the rise. Some researchers mused that perhaps it was time to reinvent the mosquito itself, and create bioengineered antimalarial mosquitoes.

A team led by Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena of Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, made a mosquito that blocks the parasite's transmission. They took SM1, a so-called effector gene that interferes with parasite development, and inserted it into the...